Getting the right hygienic furniture and equipment is a minefield.
With all the considerations needed for the modern hygiene-critical industries, choosing the right piece of furniture for the job can be fraught with peril. It doesn’t just come down to just if it does the job or not.
How long will it take to clean?
From a productivity standpoint, this is key. The longer the furniture takes to clean, the less time you can spend on production. Never underestimate the need for your hygienic furniture to be easy to clean.
Your furniture has to be able to withstand harsh cleaning chemicals without the risk of corrosion and rust. Always invest in furniture that is made from the correct grade of stainless steel or waterproof construction board for the job in hand. A wet, rusty environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive and multiply. These can cause a variety of potentially fatal illnesses.
Dirt traps and harbourage points are also a major risk. Hidden ledges, seams, and raised welds offer a sanctuary for dangerous microbes, and areas where water or cleaning fluids can pool can be a listeria risk. Always opt for stainless steel furniture with sloped surfaces and in-built drainage points to prevent this.
From a production and profitability perspective, poor furniture design and accessibility will mean more time spent on cleaning. Think how quickly a few extra minutes adds up over weeks and months.
Is it efficient to use?
Intelligent design should carry through to its usage. Having a product which is badly designed, poorly manufactured or with unnecessary faults can impact productivity just as much as the clean down times.
Cutting costs on hygienic furniture can lead to production areas that waste time in maintenance and workarounds.
An auditor won’t be looking at an item of furniture in isolation. As well as testing the cleanliness of all surfaces, they will be checking the areas surrounding the furniture, such as the floor and any walls behind or to the sides. Cleaning staff need to be able to easily access these areas. The harder they are to reach, the more risk of sub-standard cleaning and non-conformities.
Does it meet current BRCGS audit standards?
If you’re running a food operation and your furniture and equipment isn’t of the right standard, when being audited under BRCGS issue 9 you are now very likely to receive non-conformities that would not have been raised under BRCGS issue 8.
Put yourself in the position of an auditor and look at your equipment and furniture with fresh, and very critical, eyes. Would you be happy for an auditor to look inside your machines, under your tables and in the hidden corners of your storage areas? And once you’ve done that, think again about the audit requirements of your customers. Once you have established and honed your
hygienic processes in line with GMP, ensure that every member of your team starts to think and behave like an auditor and a customer.
Is it within budget?
Regardless of how long your equipment has been in place without previously being cause for non-conformities, from now on both old and new equipment will be audited against the requirements set out in issue 9. This may present significant challenges for businesses who now need to invest in new equipment, but having the right furniture and equipment is no longer an option, it is absolutely essential.
With stringent regulations covering every area of your business right now, plus the pressures of the economy over the last couple of years, it might be tempting to try and save some money by looking at more seemingly economical solutions.
Buying a second-hand stainless steel table for your food production facility may seem like a wallet-friendly move at first, but when it’s been subjected to a years' worth of clean down routines and is starting to rust in the poorly designed joints, it can have a massive impact on your productivity and bottom line.
Not to mention your success in an audit.
Buying cheap or refurbished may be ok when buying a phone or a new sideboard, but when you are running a business that is built on its need to hygiene excellence, it’s the wrong move. Cheap, low quality or second-hand stainless steel products are a false economy; especially when it comes to audits later down the line (or even changes in audit standards).
What is compliant now may well not be with the next issue update.
How can Teknomek help?
Investing in intelligently designed, premium quality hygienic furniture and equipment from Teknomek is an investment in your business's future. An investment in future audits, successful and profitable productivity and your brands reputation.
Teknomek understands hygienic design. We understand this industry and what the requirements and demands on our customers are. We buy the highest quality materials to manufacture them into furniture and equipment that will stand the test of time, be efficient and be perfect for the job with which they were made.
Our business, our experience and our Teknomexperts make us the ideal partners to work with you to build a hygienic space from the ground up, to provide you with expert advice and knowledge on furniture requirements and industry standards and to continuously improve to match the demands of the industry.
We may not be the least expensive option, but we are the option that will give you the best lifetime value and help you stay audit-ready, every day.